Toobin was on leave after he was fired from his position with The New Yorker because he masturbated during a Zoom conference call with his colleagues.
“Toobin was witnessed by colleagues exposing himself and masturbating on a staff Zoom call,” said Fox News, “leading to widespread ridicule of the veteran journalist.”
The interview from Thursday night on CNN has been widely panned.
“This Jeffrey Toobin ‘welcome back’ clip, in its entirety, sets cringe records at levels I did not know existed,” tweeted Ben Williamson of the Daily Caller.
This Jeffrey Toobin “welcome back” clip, in its entirety, sets cringe records at levels I did not know existed pic.twitter.com/mTuTS15amo
— Ben Williamson (@_WilliamsonBen) June 10, 2021
Alisyn Camerota of CNN cut right to the chase in the interview asking Toobin “What the hell were you thinking?”
“Well, obviously, I wasn’t thinking very well or very much, and it was something that was inexplicable to me,” Toobin replied.
“I think one point — I wouldn’t exactly say ‘in my defense,’ because nothing is really in my defense — I didn’t think I was on the call. I didn’t think other people could see me,” he said.
Social media wasn’t quite as forgiving, with critics blasting CNN’s decision to bring Toobin back.
“There is not a woman alive who could have done anything close to what Jeffrey Toobin did (not that one would) and kept her job. What a disgusting, incestuous boys’ club. So damned tired of it,” tweeted Megyn Kelly.
There is not a woman alive who could have done anything close to what Jeffrey Toobin did (not that one would) and kept her job. What a disgusting,
incestuous boys’ club. So damned tired of it.
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) June 10, 2021
Toobin for his part said he didn’t seek to evade responsibility for his acts even if he said he felt that firing by The New Yorker was excessive.
“I felt like I was a very good contributor to that magazine for a very long time, and I thought this punishment was excessive, but look, you know, that’s why they don’t ask the criminal to be the judge in his own case. I mean, I thought it was an excessive punishment. I’m incredibly grateful to CNN for taking me back,” Toobin said
“I’ve got a lot to rebuild. But I feel very privileged and very lucky that I’m going to be able to try to do that,” Toobin concluded.